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Bon Journal

Past the sell-by date

It's an annual ritual to do a spring cleaning before the new year dawns. As I reach for the tins and packages hidden in the top and back shelves of my shed and kitchen, I am amazed that they've been around for so long.

Packet of hot and sour soup mix expired July 2000. Tub of Thai curry mix expired January 2001. Japanese seaweed expired November 1999. Other items look too deadly to worth the date check.

So where have I been to cause such neglect? An optimiser and otherwise careful shopper, I dislike waste. And it's such a shame to discover unopened jars of sauces and other food I would have wolfed down in a delirious moment of homesickness.

My closet is equally out of date. Some blouses from a decade ago look like recent purchases, hardly worn at all. I still remember the occasion when I bought them - they were on sale! Somewhere along the way, I learned to operate on auto-pilot during sales. The magic four letter word was "open sesame" to my purse. My purchase behaviour during sales has zero correlation with want or need.

During non-sale periods, I would rationalise that clothes should be comfortable first of all and look good on the person. But my closet is witness to neither. Meanwhile those clothes that are thin from wear and wash are out of fashion. Am I the one past the sell-by date?

26 December 2001 Wednesday Boxing Day